"Let's pick up the pace," Stalker said in that deep gravelly voice of his. "We've got to get where we're going, so the old man can disable the tractor beam."
"What?" Bomo and Gim said, nearly in unison.
"I said... We've got to get where we're going, so the old man can defeat the evil wizard and get us passage to the Northern Wastelands."
"Oh," Bomo and Gim said, nearly in unison.
"Who are you calling old?" Tim huffed.
"You see anyone else here with a long white beard?" Stalker asked pointedly.
"It's a tall white beard," Tim corrected sharply. "That was established in an earlier chapter, if you'll recall." He glanced at Bomo. "What are you looking at?"
Bomo shook his head. "I was just pondering," he said. "I can't figure out if you should be played by Sir Ian McKellen or Eric Idle."
Tim stared blankly at him.
"Sorry," Bomo said. "There's no way I could know about either of those people. Just as there's no way I could possibly know that Stalker's voice is almost, but not quite, as gravelly as Christian Bale's when he's wearing the bat-mask."
"Don't go there," Gim snapped.
"Whoa, Falcon," Stalker cried suddenly, pulling up the reins. The horse whinnied and trotted to a stop.
"Falcon?" Gim asked.
"Horse has to have a name," Stalker replied. "When you've been through the desert, you'll know what I'm talking about."
"Why are we stopping?" Huxley asked.
"Sssshhhhhh...." Stalker held up a hand. "I think we're being watched."
"That's a bit cliché, don't you think?" Tim asked skeptically.
The other four gave him a look.
"Oh. Yes. Right you are, then." Tim cleared his throat and pretended to dust off his long white robe... er... tall white robe.
"I would imagine," Bomo said, "that whoever's out there watching us is either a former king whose trust in the decency of men and his own ability to rule ethically while in possession of magically powered jewellery has been bent and corrupted until all that remains of him is a dark, bitter shadow of himself that now serves the interests of the Evil Lord..."
Bomo paused to catch his breath.
"Or...?" Gim asked.
"Or it's a lawyer with a restraining order or summons."
"No!" Gim cried.
"God help us!" Huxley moaned.
"Anything but that," Stalker growled .
"Oh, I'll take the evil, dessicated king any time," Tim said with a shudder.
"Maybe it's just fans," Gim said hopefully.
"Fans?" Bomo asked.
Gim nodded her head.
"You mean magical, enchanted, folding pieces of paper that can either cool us by moving back and forth or slice our heads off in a sudden and bitter rage?"
Gim shot him a worried glance. "You need to chill," she said.
"I believe," Tim said, "that she was referring to persons who hold great interest in certain styles and genres of fiction, or who hold certain personages in high regard or esteem."
"Oh, fans!" Bomo said.
"I'll stick with the lawyers, thanks," Stalker muttered.
"It's none of those things," Huxley exclaimed. "Look!"
They all turned to look in the direction Huxley was pointing. A figure was moving towards them from the top of a ridge. Behind him stood another figure with a strange, frightening-looking device. The fivesome watched in awe and horror as the round, shadowy man-shape moved closer and closer.
At length he reached the road. Now the travellers could see more of his appearance. He shambled towards them, his hair a mess of discordant curls, his scruffy beard threatening to overtake his entire face, his clothes a rumpled mess. Wire spectacles sat at an odd angle across his nose.
He stepped up to them.
"Hi," he said. "My name's Peter Jackson."
The group stared at him, horrified.
"Up there," he continued, pointing behind him, "that's my director of photography."
The group continued to stare at him, still horrified.
"Um, we were noticing that this scene is dragging a bit. We were wondering if you could, um, wrap up the pun-filled dialogue and get back on with the quest." He looked at each of them in turn. "If it wouldn't be too much trouble."
Bomo looked at Gim. Tim looked at Huxley. Stalker looked at Bomo. Gim looked at Stalker. Huxley looked at Gim.
Falcon snorted and scuffed the ground with a hoof.
In the distance, an eagle cried.
A moment passed.
"Yeah, all right." Tim said.
"Sure," Bomo muttered.
"I guess we can do that," Stalker mumbled.
The intruder let out a breath. "Great. Thanks a lot, guys. Great work so far. I'm really believing the dilemma, the confusion, the utter--"
"We done here?" Stalker growled.
Jackson put up his hands. "Yeah, oh yeah. We're done. No problem." He started to back away. "Definitely getting that Christian Bale vibe there... definitely."
A few moments later he disappeared over the ridge.
"Let's get outta here," Stalker rasped.
They turned back towards the unknown and began moving once again along the Yellow Brick Road (let's call a spade a spade here, okay?)
"What next?" Bomo muttered, to no one in particular.